Rémy Cointreau sues 50 Cent’s Cognac brandBy Nicola Carruthers
French firm Rémy Cointreau has launched a lawsuit against the Cognac brand owned by rapper 50 Cent for allegedly infringing on the trademark of its Rémy Martin XO bottle.
E Rémy Martin & Co has filed a complaint against Sire Spirits, Vetro and VSPA, in New York. Sire Spirits is owned by 50 Cent, real name Curtis J Jackson III, and produces the Branson Cognac brand.
According to the case filing, the Cognac maker said Sire Spirits had ‘wilfully and blatantly designed their bottle to unfairly capitalise on the goodwill and reputation’ of its Rémy bottle mark.
Jackson filed a US trademark for his Branson bottle in February last year. Rémy Martin said the bottle would create a likelihood of consumer confusion due to their ‘stark similarities’.
Rémy Martin is the world’s second biggest-selling Cognac, after LVMH-owned Hennessy, according to Brand Champions data. It sold 2.3 million nine-litre cases in 2020.
The XO Cognac was founded three decades ago and has been sold in a toroidal-shaped bottle since 1985, the lawsuit said. The company owns several US trademarks for the bottle, with the oldest one originating in 1986. A quarter of its sales come from the States.
The lawsuit also pointed to the brand’s social media following in the US – on Facebook Rémy Martin has more than 2.6m followers. The company said it had spent US$15m promoting the XO over the last five years.
As such, the lawsuit noted that the Rémy bottle is ‘distinctive, has become well known, and, indeed, famous, to the trade and members of the purchasing public’.
Furthermore, the French firm said consumers have noted the similarities between the bottles on social media.
Rémy Martin also argued that the Branson bottle is a ‘near exact reproduction’ of the brand’s Centaure de Diamant bottle, released as a ‘one-of-a-kind’ bottle design in 2010.
The French firm is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages.
Rémy Cointreau said the group ‘does not comment on pending litigation’.
Sire Spirits is yet to respond to a request for comment.
The rapper took to Instagram to address the lawsuit last week. He wrote: “They are afraid of me already. Branson Cognac is the new wave. Remy is #2 behind Henny and worried about Branson Smh I’m just getting started.”
Last month, Rémy Cointreau sued Canopy Growth for alleged trademark infringement over the cannabis company’s CBD-infused sparkling water brand Quatreau.